Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 3

Scribe Video Center and various community organizations

Total running time for the DVD is 2 1/2 hours

$20 for individuals/ $50 for institutions and universities
Individuals may purchase this DVD for $20 plus shipping and handling online using Scribe Video Center's secure PayPal account. Institutions should contact Scribe directly by calling 215 222 4201.

Scribe Video Center’s
Precious Places Community History Project Vol. 3

While tourists head straight for the city’s official “Historic District” and native Philadelphian’s think they have seen it all, Scribe Video Center’sPrecious Places Community History Project reveals bypassed neighborhood sites as bright landmarks that surprise and inspire residents and visitors alike. Using the video documentary as a storytelling medium, neighborhood residents have come together to document the oral histories of their communities. Over the past three years Scribe has collaborated with community groups from Philadelphia, Chester, Ardmore, and Camden to produce 41 community histories. Precious Places is a regional history, an occasion for neighbors to tell their own stories about and the people and places that make their communities unique. This DVD features 15 films assembled into 5 programs of approximately 30 minutes in length.

Program 11

Las Parcelas by Norris Square Neighborhood Project (North Philadelphia) What was once a vacant lot on Palethorp Street has become the lush green urban garden known as "Las Parcelas.” A dedicated group of women plant the seeds of community, cultural awareness and vegetables.Read more

Francisville Community History (North Philadelphia) by Scribe Video Center interviews the men of the Morrocos, a street gang from the 1960s, are now in their 50s and early 60s. They provide a walking tour of Francisville, a North Philadelphia neighborhood bounded by Fairmount Avenue, Girard, Corinthian and Broad. Their story is how the political climate of the 1960s, in particular the struggle to integrate Girard College, transformed some gang members into political activists and community leaders. Commissioned as a prototype for the Precious Places Community History Project by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission. Read more

Strawberry Mansion, Neighborhood by the Park by the East Park Revitalization Alliance (North Philadelphia). Strawberry Mansion, the neighborhood that sits along the eastern side of Fairmount Park, is a mixture of city and country. With acres and acres of parkland, a reservoir, 19th century mansions and a well used neighborhood riding stable, it is not what most people think of when they think of “urban.” Long-term residents talk about this special part of Philadelphia. Read more

Program 12

The Industrial Past by the Cardinal Bevilacqua Community Center (Kensington/Frankford) Residents at the crossroads of Kensington and Lehigh neighborhood reflect on history of the area and its industrial past as the “workshop of America.” Read more

Youth and the Houston Center: Growing Up Together by The United Communities Southeast Philadelphia and the Southeast Philadelphia Collaborative (Southeast Philadelphia) Over the past 100 years, the Houston Center has had many lives and served many populations. Youth and the Houston Center explores the neighborhood’s past and the document the oral histories of the many communities – African-American, Eastern European, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Laotian, Hmong, Mexican and others - who have called it home. Read more

Athletic Recreation Center: The Jewel of Brewerytown by the Brewerytown Sharswood Community Civic Association (North Philadelphia). Baseball and Brewerytown have a long history. Current and former residents of Brewerytown recount past glory days, present vitality and challenges of the Athletic Recreation Center; a jewel in the community since 1910. Read more


Program 13

Keeping the Faith by the Islamic Cultural Preservation and Information Council (West Philadelphia) The Islamic Cultural Preservation and Information Council has made a documentary about the deep historical roots of the African-American Muslim community on Lancaster Avenue, in the Mill Creek section of West Philadelphia, as well as the present-day movement to preserve it. Read more

Yorktown: You Are Here by Yorktown Community Organization (North Philadelphia) Created in the 1960s as an experiment in affordable home ownership for low and middle income families, Yorktown has been one of North Philadelphia’s great success stories. It must now address an expanding Temple University and its growing need for student housing. Read more

Eve’s Garden by Heart of Camden ( South Camden) Located in South Camden, Eve’s garden, is a remarkable urban garden in one of the area’s most blighted neighborhoods. The children of South Camden tend the garden and enjoy the rich bounty of the land. Read more


Program 14

Petty's Island: An Untold History by Camden City African American Commission (North Camden) Perhaps you have seen Petty’s Island as you look north from the Benjamin Franklin Bridge. This video looks at the history of the island, from its roots as a Lenape encampment to its use by the early European colonists as a depot for enslaved Africans. Today the ecology of the island is being threatened by development plans to create a gated community. Narrated by Danny Glover. Read more

Palmer Cemetery: The Heart and History of Fishtown by the Fishtown Neighbors Association (Fishtown) tells the history of Fishtown's Palmer Cemetery, created for the community by the shipbuilder Anthony Palmer in the 1730's. Since most Fishtowners know or are related to someone buried at Palmer Cemetery, it has become the place where everyone in the neighborhood goes to never leave. Read more

"It [Precious Places] moves documentary practice away from the individualistic and idiosyncratic, typified in projects likeSupersize Me (2004, by Morgan Spurlock) and Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004, by Michael Moore), towards collaborative interactions between neighborhoods, filmmakers, and scholars who create new histories. As a result, the project constitutes more than an intervention into the conceptualization of documentary. Importing concepts from postcolonial studies, the project shows how to embody difficult and sprawling polyvcalities and microhistories as a way to reclaim and revitalize ideas about the archive, history and memory.

Rather than creating a single authorial vision, Precious Places advances the collaborative ethnographic and historical model, where community participants become the authors and not simply the objects of community history." -- an excerpt from Patricia Zimmerman's article "Imbedded Public Histories" published in Afterimage, March/April 2006


April 8, 2004 - Philadelphia City Paper, Day in the Life

May 6, 2004 - Northeast Times, Getting Neighborhoods in Focus

Public Screenings, Broadcasts and Festivals: 

2005 Athens International Film and Video Festival (tied for first place in the documentary category, winning for Best Expression of a Community on Film), Athens, OH
2005 & 2007 Philadelphia Film Festival, Philadelphia, PA
2006 Harlem Film Festival, Harlem, NY
2006-2007 Council on Foundations’ 39th Annual Film & Video Festival